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Descriptions : Adam Ferguson and Friedrich Hayek separated by a period of almost two hundred years made original but similar contributions to the field of theoretical sociology In this collection of essays Ronald Hamowy explores the life and work of these two thinkers giving special emphasis to their insights into the diffusion of knowledge Ferguson a giant of the Scottish Enlightenment can be credited with laying the foundations of theoretical history by first proposing the idea that social institutions undergo evolutionary change He theorized that while these institutions are formed by the actions of human beings they are not the product of human design Less than two centuries later Hayek extended this insight to dealing with economic and social interaction arguing that the knowledge requisite for structuring the social institutions under which we live is far too complex to be comprehended by any one mind or group of thinkers and that these institutions had in fact evolved over long periods of time without deliberate design Hayek was also the first to introduce the notion that market processes are a function of all participants contributing the limited knowledge that each possesses out of which an orderly arrangement of enormous complexity emerges Scholars and students of sociology economics history and political theory will find The Political Sociology of Freedom a unique and provocative read